With the arbitrator’s award of $2.75 million to Antti Niemi, the Chicago Blackhawks have decided to walk away from Niemi, thus making him an unrestricted free agent (UFA).
In turn, Chicago signed goaltender Marty Turco to a one year $1.3 million deal.
In New York, the Islanders have bought out the last season of the two-year $6 million contract of Defenseman Brendan Witt.
In Atlanta, the Thrashers traded center Todd White ($2.3 million) to the New York Rangers for forward Patrick Rissmiller ($1 million) and Donald Brashear ($1.4 million).
Atlanta will then place Brashear on unconditional waiver and buy out his contract. If Brashear is not claimed, he would become an UFA.
What the above points out is clearly what I wrote about in a previous article about the NHL’s salary cap.
Chicago is basically down to its core players from last season—Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook.
They have five other players that played secondary roles last year, 18 players currently signed, and are still $1.7 million OVER the cap.
So the question might be asked—was the Stanley Cup and its bonuses ($4 million) worth it?
Of course it was because that’s the name of the game. But will this team, having to be gutted because of salary problems, be a force next season with what’s left?
Does this mean that Chicago will go back to just trying to make the playoffs?
You think Chicago’s got a problem? Just have a look at a few other teams.
The following teams are all OVER the salary cap.